0928-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 28 Sep 2017, Thursday

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Constructed by: Joe Krozel
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Pinata

We have a note with today’s puzzle:

Two letters of the alphabet are missing from the main, connected portion of the completed grid. What are they? The answer goes, appropriately, at 35-Across.

The answer at 35-across is CANDY, which sits inside a PINATA depicted by the black squares at the center of the grid. CANDY can be rewritten as “C AND Y”, telling us that the letters C and Y don’t appear at all in the rest of the grid:

  • 44D. Party item depicted in the middle of this puzzle’s grid : PINATA
  • 35A. Likely contents of a 44-Down : CANDY (can be rewritten as “C AND Y”)

Bill’s time: 12m 36s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. Regal Entertainment Group facility : MULTIPLEX

The Regal Entertainment Group chain of theaters is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee.

17. Hierarchical structure, metaphorically : TOTEM POLE

“Totem” is the name given to any entity that watches over a group of people. As such, totems are usually the subjects of worship. Totem poles are really misnamed, as they are not intended to represent figures to be worshiped, but rather are heraldic in nature often celebrating the legends or notable events in the history of a tribe.

18. “Fighting man from head to toe” : GI JOE

G.I. Joe was the original “action figure”, the first toy to carry that description. G.I. Joe first hit the shelves in 1964. There have been a few movies based on the G.I. Joe figure, but, more famous than all of them I would say is the 1997 movie “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore in the title role. I thought that “G.I. Jane” had some potential, to be honest, but it really did not deliver in the end.

21. Mild cheese : GOUDA

Gouda is a cheese that originated in the Dutch city of the same name, although today Gouda is produced all over the world and very little of it comes from the Netherlands. Gouda is often smoke-cured, given it a yellowish-brown outer skin and that characteristic smoky taste.

24. Letters on a cartoon stick : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

25. First name in “wabbit” hunting : ELMER

Elmer Fudd is one of the most famous of all the Looney Tunes cartoon characters, the hapless nemesis of Bugs Bunny. If you have never seen it, check out Elmer and Bugs in the marvelous “Rabbit of Seville”, a short cartoon that parodies Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”. Wonderful stuff …

26. Org. with millions of members HQ’d in Fairfax, Va. : NRA

National Rifle Association (NRA)

27. Consumes too much, informally : ODS

Overdose (OD)

31. Stock opportunity, in brief : IPO

An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

37. Connector of English stories : LIFT

Elevators are known as “lifts” in England.

Elevators (simple hoists) have been around for a long time. What Elisha Otis did was come up with the “safety elevator”, a design that he showcased at the 1853 World’s Fair in New York. At the Fair, Otis would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this demonstration, the orders came rolling in.

38. French 101 verb : ETRE

The French for “to be” is “être”.

39. No Triple Crown winner ever : MARE

There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:

  • Foal: horse of either sex that is less that one year old
  • Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
  • Filly: female horse under the age of four
  • Colt: male horse under the age of four
  • Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
  • Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
  • Mare: female horse four years or older

The US Triple Crown horse races are, in order through the year:

  1. The Kentucky Derby
  2. The Preakness Stakes
  3. The Belmont Stakes

46. Enliven, with “up” : GIN

“To gin up” is slang, meaning “to enliven, excite”. The term probably derives from the older “to ginger up”. Gingering up was the rather nasty practice of putting ginger up inside a horse to make it lively and move with a high tail.

47. Kind of scheme : PONZI

Charles Ponzi was born in Luigi, Italy in 1882 and arrived in the US in 1903, flat broke having gambled away all his money on the voyage to Boston. Ponzi devised a scheme to buy what were known as “international reply coupons” through friends in Italy, which he had sent to him in the US so that he could redeem them on this side of the Atlantic. As the value in the US was greater than that in Italy, he could make a handsome profit. This was in itself an “illegal” transaction, buying an asset in one market at a low price, then immediately selling it in another market at a higher price. But it’s what he did next that became known as a Ponzi Scheme. He couldn’t redeem his coupons quickly enough due to red tape so he approached other investors, initially friends, and had them give him cash so that he could buy more coupons in Italy. He promised the investors he would double their money, which they did initially. Many people wanted to get in on the scheme seeing that Ponzi was able to make the new investors a profit and double the money of the original investors. Eventually, somebody did the math and word started to get out that the investment was risky, so the number of new investors started to fall. Without sufficient new investors Ponzi couldn’t double the money of his latest investors, and the whole scheme unraveled.

55. Hard, pungent cheese : ASIAGO

Asiago is a crumbly cheese that is named for the region in northeastern Italy from where it originates.

57. Melania Trump ___ Knauss : NEE

When President Donald Trump took office, his wife Melania Trump was the first naturalized US citizen to become First Lady of the US. President Trump’s wife was born Melanija Knavs (often Germanized to “Melania Knauss”) in the city of Novo Mesto in Slovenia, which was then part of former Yugoslavia. But, Melania Trump isn’t the first First Lady born overseas. That honor goes to London-born Louisa Adams, the wife of President John Adams.

58. “Hooked on Classics” label : K-TEL

K-Tel was founded in 1962 in Winnipeg, Manitoba by one Philip Kives. K-Tel’s recipe for success was the sale of inexpensive goods with a simple sales pitch and mail-order distribution.

I know that a lot of people detested the “Hooked on Classics” albums, but to be honest, I found them to be a lot of fun. But then again, I like disco! The original “Hooked on Classics” album was recorded in 1981 by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from London. The music was a selection of recognizable extracts from the world of classical music played over a continuous, disco beat.

59. Some toy trucks : TONKAS

The toy manufacturer today known as Tonka started out as a manufacturer of garden implements in Mound, Minnesota in 1946. By 1955, toys had become the main product line for the company. At that time the owners decided to change the company name and opted for “Tonka”, a Dakota Sioux word meaning “great, big”.

60. Lao-___ : TSE

Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

61. Library references, briefly : OEDS

Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

62. San ___, Tex. : ANGELO

San Angelo is a city in West Central Texas.

Down

1. Defib user : EMT

A defibrillator (defib) might be operated by an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

3. Widely played sport developed at Amherst College in the 1960s : ULTIMATE FRISBEE

Ultimate is a team sport, similar to football or rugby in that the goal is to get a flying disc into an endzone or goal area. The sport used to be called “Ultimate Frisbee”, but the “Frisbee” was dropped as it is a registered trademark.

4. Cross-country route, informally : I-TEN

I-10 is the most southerly of the interstate routes that cross from the Atlantic right to the Pacific. I-10 stretches from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida. Various stretches of the route have been given different names, for example, the Rosa Parks Freeway, the Santa Monica Freeway, the San Bernardino Freeway and the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway.

5. Popular beige work boots, colloquially : TIMS

The Timberland Company was founded in 1957 by Nathan Swartz, a shoemaker from Boston. The business’s first successful product was the waterproof boot called the Timberland. It was so successful that the company adopted Timberland for its name.

6. Silicon Valley product : APP

The Santa Clara Valley, located just a few miles from me at the south of San Francisco Bay, is better known as “Silicon Valley”. The term “Silicon Valley” dates back to 1971 when it was apparently first used in a weekly trade newspaper called “Electronic News” in articles written by journalist Don Hoefler.

7. Trashed : BLOTTO

The term “blotto” meaning “drunk” dates back to the early 1900s. It supposedly is derived from the word “blot”, in the sense that being drunk one must have soaked up a whole load of booze.

8. University founder ___ Stanford : LELAND

Leland Stanford became a very successful businessman in California after moving there from New York during the Gold Rush. Stanford then served as governor of the state for two years, and later US Senator for California. He founded the Leland Stanford Junior University in memory of his teenage son who died of typhoid fever while the family was travelling in Italy in 1884. The university opened its doors for business in 1891, and the first student admitted was none other than Herbert Hoover, the man would become the 31st President of the US.

11. Brooks Robinson was one : ORIOLE

Brooks Robinson played baseball for the Baltimore Orioles for the whole of his MLB career, from 1955 to 1977. Many believe that Robinson was the great defensive third baseman to play the game. He was given the nickname “The Human Vacuum Cleaner” for his ability to “suck up” ground balls.

13. “Johnny B. ___” (Chuck Berry hit) : GOODE

“Johnny B. Goode” is a rock and roll number that was made famous by Chuck Berry in the late fifties. “Johnny B. Goode” even made it into outer space as it was chosen as one of four American songs that were included on the Voyager Golden Record, which was attached to the Voyager spacecraft that left our solar system in 2012.

30. Agreement : ENTENTE

An entente cordiale (sometimes just “entente”) is a friendly understanding, usually between two nations. The term, which translates from French as “cordial agreement”, was first used to describe a set of agreements between the UK and France that were put in place 1904.

32. Law office worker : PARALEGAL

A paralegal (sometimes just “para”) is someone who is trained in legal matters sufficiently to assist a lawyer. A paralegal cannot engage in the practice of law and must be supervised by a qualified lawyer.

33. Actor Wilson : OWEN

The actor Owen Wilson was nominated for an Oscar, but not for his acting. He was nominated for co-writing the screenplay for “The Royal Tenenbaums” along with Wes Anderson.

42. Marx collaborator : ENGELS

Friedrich Engels was a German political theorist who worked closely with Karl Marx to develop what became known as Marxist Theory. Along with Marx, he also co-authored “The Communist Manifesto” in 1848, and later he supported Marx as he worked to publish “Das Kapital”.

43. Israeli gun : UZI

The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.

44. Party item depicted in the middle of this puzzle’s grid : PINATA

Piñatas originated in Mexico, probably among the Aztecs or Mayans. Today piñatas are usually made from cardboard that is brightly decorated with papier-mâché. Traditionally a piñata was made out of a clay pot, adorned with feathers and ribbons and filled with small treasures. During religious ceremonies the clay pots would be suspended and broken open so that the contents would spill out onto the ground at the feet of a god as an offering.

54. Old-time film studio : RKO

The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO initialism then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.

56. Royal wish, once : SON

… because only male offspring could succeed to the throne.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Fair : EQUITABLE
10. Hale ___, House majority leader of the 1970s : BOGGS
15. Regal Entertainment Group facility : MULTIPLEX
16. “Get ___, you two!” : A ROOM
17. Hierarchical structure, metaphorically : TOTEM POLE
18. “Fighting man from head to toe” : GI JOE
19. Cave-___ (mining hazards) : INS
20. What naphthalene is distilled from : TAR
21. Mild cheese : GOUDA
22. Where some bills originate, for short : ATM
24. Letters on a cartoon stick : TNT
25. First name in “wabbit” hunting : ELMER
26. Org. with millions of members HQ’d in Fairfax, Va. : NRA
27. Consumes too much, informally : ODS
28. Agent, for short : REP
29. Historical ___ : SITE
31. Stock opportunity, in brief : IPO
34. Well-planed : EVEN
35. Likely contents of a 44-Down : CANDY
36. Nibble (on) : GNAW
37. Connector of English stories : LIFT
38. French 101 verb : ETRE
39. No Triple Crown winner ever : MARE
40. Exhaust : USE UP
45. Comparison word : THAN
46. Enliven, with “up” : GIN
47. Kind of scheme : PONZI
48. Shaver’s option : GEL
49. Word repeated in “What’s ___ is ___” : PAST
50. “Eat up!” : DIG IN!
51. Bullring shouts : OLES
53. Light brown brew : AMBER ALE
55. Hard, pungent cheese : ASIAGO
57. Melania Trump ___ Knauss : NEE
58. “Hooked on Classics” label : K-TEL
59. Some toy trucks : TONKAS
60. Lao-___ : TSE
61. Library references, briefly : OEDS
62. San ___, Tex. : ANGELO

Down

1. Defib user : EMT
2. Where: Lat. : QUO
3. Widely played sport developed at Amherst College in the 1960s : ULTIMATE FRISBEE
4. Cross-country route, informally : I-TEN
5. Popular beige work boots, colloquially : TIMS
6. Silicon Valley product : APP
7. Trashed : BLOTTO
8. University founder ___ Stanford : LELAND
9. Wields : EXERTS
10. Supermarket assistant : BAGGER
11. Brooks Robinson was one : ORIOLE
12. “Take a hike!” : GO JUMP IN THE LAKE!
13. “Johnny B. ___” (Chuck Berry hit) : GOODE
14. Lipstick problem : SMEAR
22. New Hampshire’s Saint ___ College : ANSELM
23. Home version of “Jeopardy!” and others : TRIVIA GAMES
30. Agreement : ENTENTE
32. Law office worker : PARALEGAL
33. Actor Wilson : OWEN
36. “Move it!” : GET GOING!
40. Software vendor’s recommendation : UPDATE
41. In need of laundering : SOILED
42. Marx collaborator : ENGELS
43. Israeli gun : UZI
44. Party item depicted in the middle of this puzzle’s grid : PINATA
49. What dogs do in lieu of sweating : PANT
52. Middlin’ : SO-SO
54. Old-time film studio : RKO
56. Royal wish, once : SON

8 thoughts on “0928-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 28 Sep 2017, Thursday”

  1. 12:02, no errors. I was very lucky on this one: I was doing it online, failed to read the explanatory note, and simply guessed at CANDY to finish the puzzle. If my guess had been wrong, I would undoubtedly have fumbled around for quite some time before realizing that I should click on the little “info” button. However, after the fact, I did do that, so, for once, I fully understood the theme before coming here. (Miracles do happen, I guess … 😄.)

  2. 24:26. I saw the note and then looked at the puzzle thinking it was a dog. Then I saw 44D referring to it as a party item. “Donkey” (as in pin the tail on the donkey) actually fit, but then I thought of a PINATA. So, oddly, PINATA and CANDY were the first 2 answers I got. Unfortunately, that really didn’t help with the rest of the grid which solved like an unthemed puzzle from then on. I thought there would be answers that were missing those letters – e.g. FAN(cy) and such. Interesting idea, however.

    LIFT perplexed me until I read the NYT blurb after finishing last night. Connector of English stories…of a building!! I had tunnel vision trying to think of a literary answer for it.

    Best

  3. 3 Down is incorrect. Ultimate Frisbee was invented in South Orange, NJ in the 60’s, and there is a plaque to it in the Columbia High School faculty parking lot. The Columbia High School players first formed an NJ high school league, then took Ultimate out to colleges as they graduated.

  4. 17:56, 4 errors. Totally blew 20A GAS v TAR, and 24A END v TNT. Didn’t see CANDY at all, until I completed the puzzle and checked to see that the two unused letters were C AND Y.

  5. No errors. I was glad to complete this one since most of the time I do not finish on Thursdays. In fact, I thought that the setter was deliberately giving us easy clues to help us get through this one. It is either that or I am simply getting better at working these puzzles. All in all, I thought this was a well-constructed crossword. Who could not like CANDY from a PIÑATA?

  6. Too easy for Thursday, I’m afraid, though the West was a bit more challenging than the East. Still, somewhat disappointing overall.

  7. 13:33, no errors. Didn’t “get” the challenge question, on account of it being so incredibly STUPID and completely meaningless. The pinata with CANDY inside it, yeah, that’s easy to see, and a bit of ingenuity; but no: they have to push it with the C and Y thing? Leave it alone, will ya????

  8. Felt pretty easy until I got to the left-middle, where 22 and 23 down stumped me. Didn’t help that I had Detente instead of Entente for 30 down.

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